What To Do When Your Kids Favorite DVD Gets Messed Up

You wake up with the theme song of Aloha Scooby-Doo running in your head. You can mouth the dialog to Tangled, even the quick side jokes. You ask incredulously, “You want to see that again?” These scenarios are all too familiar if you have little kids in your house. There’s a DVD or two that they can not live without. They want to watch it all the time. Again and again and again. To the point that it drives you crazy. I have a niece who’s still watching a Christmas special. It’s frickin’ July now!

Kids being kids, they leave the discs everywhere… except in their case. If it’s not on the floor, it’s in a pile of stuff. It’s not entirely their fault. I know a lot of adults that do this too. I’m not a neat freak by any definition but I’m a little OCD about putting discs back in their case. It makes me twitch when I see a toddler given a disc to play with. Their dad just gives in to make them stop crying. Parents pick their battles and DVD care isn’t usually one of them.

kcJYb9[1] Then the inevitable happens. “Could you see why this video isn’t playing anymore?” Unless there’s peanut butter oozing out of the player, check the underside of the disc. 99% of the time you’ll find horrible, horrible scratches. The cat gives you a “I didn’t do it” look and licks its rear. You used to have two choices. Tell the kid the disc is gone and teach them a valuable lesson about taking care of their things. Stay strong you stony monster as little tears drop when they can’t watch Princess Ariel anymore. Or you can buy the DVD again. You almost want to set the money on fire as you hand it to the clerk because that’s what it feels like.

Now there’s a third choice. Walmart introduced a new option to their Vudu digital video service called Disc to Digital. Bring in a physical copy of DVD or Blu-ray to your local Walmart. Pay a small fee. You get your disc back and a digital copy of your movie that’s stored “in the cloud” but really on Vudu’s servers that you can access online. All legal and with the blessing of the MPAA. It was created with the intent to combat piracy by offering customers an easy and cheap way to convert their DVD library to a streaming format used in by today’s devices. Some people see a value in this, some don’t. But it’s a solution for desperate parents with broken videos. See, Walmart doesn’t care if the disc works or not. There could even be a crack in the disc.

373028_17264801751_1905014738_n[1]This is how it works. Create a Vudu account. Don’t worry it’s free. (They often give you a free movie rental just for joining. Bonus!) Check on their site to see if your movie is in their conversion catalog. If it is, bring your disc to the photo service area of your local Walmart. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll get your info and ink mark your disc as being “redeemed”. You pay $2-4 depending if you want it in standard or HD. Now the movie can streamed over the internet to your PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPad, and even some Blu-ray players and TVs that are Vudu capable. You can play it as often as you want. All day long. There’s no additional fees.

It’s not all pros. There’s a couple of cons. You always have to have a high-speed internet connection to watch Vudu videos. It’s not stored on your device. So that makes it not suitable for car rides or Amish country. The other potential problem is I’ve found that it’s hit or miss that your local Walmart employees know how to use the Vudu system. I have two Walmarts in my area. One knows exactly how to do it. The other had no idea what Vudu Disc to Digital was, despite huge signs hung throughout the store advertising it. Guess which one is the closer store?

Karl Cramer

July 7, 2012

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